January 5 coronavirus pandemic and Omicron variant news

By Aditi Sangal, Adrienne Vogt, Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 2:03 a.m. ET, January 6, 2022
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6:54 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Woman miscarries after being refused by Xi’an hospital for invalid Covid test, states Weibo post

From CNN’s Yong Xiong in Seoul, South Korea

Students of Northwestern Polytechnical University line up to receive Covid-19 nucleic acid tests on December 29, 2021 in Xi'an, China.
Students of Northwestern Polytechnical University line up to receive Covid-19 nucleic acid tests on December 29, 2021 in Xi'an, China. (Zheng Tingpeng/VCG/Getty Images)

A woman who was eight months pregnant was allegedly turned away from a hospital in the Chinese city of Xi’an because she didn’t have a valid Covid-19 test, according to a social media post from a user who said she is the woman’s niece.

In a video posted to Chinese social media platform Weibo on January 3, the woman can be seen sitting outside the hospital with a pool of blood around her feet. The author of the post said the woman's Covid test result had expired as it was over 4 hours old, and she was left to bleed while sitting outside the hospital.

The woman was finally admitted after several hours, but eventually suffered a miscarriage, said the post, which was shared widely on Chinese social media.

A staff member from Xi’an Gaoxin Hospital told CNN they were investigating the incident. The hospital employee said the woman was initially turned away in accordance with the government’s Covid-19 regulations, but declined to comment further.

An official from the local Women’s Federation told CNN that it is aware of this incident and is closely monitoring it.

The president of the hospital told state media that the woman is recovering from surgery and the local health commission is investigating the incident. 

CNN has reached out to the author of the post and the local government for comment but has not heard back.

5:48 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Africa's showcase soccer tournament will limit stadium capacities

From CNN’s Aleks Klosok in London

The Africa Cup of Nations trophy seen during the 2019 final between Senegal and Algeria in Egypt.
The Africa Cup of Nations trophy seen during the 2019 final between Senegal and Algeria in Egypt. (Ulrik Pedersen/Icon Sport/Getty Images)

The Confederation of African Football (CAF) will limit attendance at the upcoming Africa Cup of Nations because of Covid-19.

The CAF said in a statement Tuesday that capacity will be capped at 60% for all matches except those involving host nation Cameroon, which will be capped at 80%.

All spectators must be fully vaccinated and present a negative test result before entering one of the six stadiums being used for the tournament.

Several teams have reported positive Covid-19 cases ahead of the tournament, including favorites Algeria, Ivory Coast and Morocco.

Africa’s showpiece football event begins on Sunday with Cameroon facing Burkina Faso at the Olembe stadium in Yaoundé. The 24-team tournament will take place in five cities across the country.

4:51 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Hong Kong is tightening restrictions over one untraceable Omicron case

From CNN's Wayne Chan in Hong Kong

Members of the public wait in line outside a community vaccination center administering the BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine imported by Fosun Pharma in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. More Hong Kong residents are getting their first shots against Covid-19 as a cluster of omicron infections grows and an expansion of the vaccine mandate looms.
Members of the public wait in line outside a community vaccination center administering the BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine imported by Fosun Pharma in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. More Hong Kong residents are getting their first shots against Covid-19 as a cluster of omicron infections grows and an expansion of the vaccine mandate looms. (Chan Long Hei/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

Hong Kong’s government is forcing business to close and banning in-restaurant dining after identifying a single untraceable case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

However, in the last 24 hours, Hong Kong authorities have found several community cases that raised concerns over possible hidden transmission chains, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said. Lam said it was uncertain how many chains might exist at the moment, but that a fifth wave of cases was "imminent."

To stop the potential spread of the virus, authorities will ban indoor dining starting at 6 p.m. Friday. Gyms, movie theaters, museums, swimming pools, bars and clubs will also be closed, and cruises have been suspended. 

The measures will be reviewed in seven days, Lam said.

Lam said the city will also ban flights from eight countries for two weeks starting Saturday. Those countries -- Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, Philippines, the United States and the United Kingdom -- have all seen recent spikes in Covid-19 cases.

Hong Kong, along with mainland China, is one of the few places in the world still pursuing a zero-Covid policy. The city's priority is reopening borders with the mainland, not the rest of the world, Hong Kong authorities have said.

While those policies have kept the population safe from the virus, they have taken a toll on the financial capital's economy and the mental well-being of residents. Those who are allowed to return to Hong Kong must spend as long as three weeks quarantining in a hotel room at their own expense, and anyone who contracts the virus must stay in the hospital until they test negative.

4:50 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

More than 145 Delhi healthcare workers test positive for Covid, raising fears of staff shortages

From Esha Mitra in New Delhi

Health workers inside the Commonwealth Games Village Sports Complex, which has been temporarily converted into Covid-19 care center, in New Delhi on January 5, 2022.
Health workers inside the Commonwealth Games Village Sports Complex, which has been temporarily converted into Covid-19 care center, in New Delhi on January 5, 2022. (Money Sharma/AFP/Getty Images)

At least 145 healthcare workers have tested positive for Covid-19 in just two hospitals in the Indian capital of New Delhi.

At the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, at least 80 doctors have tested positive, according to Dr. Jaswant Jangra, secretary of the hospital's Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA). Jangra added that the number of patients hospitalized with Covid symptoms rose from 12 last week to 60, but the majority are being advised to isolate at home.

In Ram Manohar Lohiya, a government-run hospital, at least 65 healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses have also tested positive, according to Dr. Furquan Ahmed, from the hospital’s RDA.

Ahmed said most of the cases "are mild to moderate" and don't require hospitalization, but the situation is "taxing."

“I myself have headache and fever, I got tested yesterday and I’m awaiting my report,” Ahmed told CNN Wednesday.

Medical professionals are concerned that the number of doctors and nurses testing positive could lead to critical staff shortages. The Indian Medical Association had warned that a delay in allocating newly deployed doctors to hospitals had led to a shortage of 45,000 doctors on the frontline.

“In my department alone, 11 doctors have tested positive," Ahmed said. "Because the new batch of doctors hasn’t come in there is a shortage, so definitely we will be understaffed if admissions rise."

Delhi reported 5,481 new cases Tuesday evening, the highest single day rise in cases since May 16 last year, according to local health bulletins.

The Indian Health Ministry said Wednesday 2,135 cases of the Omicron variant have been detected in the country since December 2. The ministry said last week that while Delta remains the dominant variant, Omicron was likely the driver of a recent uptick in cases.

8:33 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Thousands of passengers and staff held on cruise ship over Covid outbreak fears in Hong Kong

From CNN's Teele Rebane in Hong Kong

The cruise ship "Spectrum of the Seas," shown docked at a terminal in Hong Kong on January 5, 2022, after it was ordered to return to the city for coronavirus testing.
The cruise ship "Spectrum of the Seas," shown docked at a terminal in Hong Kong on January 5, 2022, after it was ordered to return to the city for coronavirus testing. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

More than 3,000 cruise ship passengers and staff are being held on a cruise ship after a Covid scare on board on Wednesday. 

The Royal Caribbean-owned vessel “Spectrum of the Seas” was ordered to return to port in Hong Kong for compulsory coronavirus testing after nine passengers were identified as close contacts of a preliminarily positive case. 

“Once it obtained the information that some close contacts boarded the cruise ship, the CHP immediately requested the cruise company to isolate the nine close contacts on the cruise ship first and arrange testing for them onboard,” the Hong Kong government said in a statement.

Royal Caribbean said on Facebook they were informed of the close contacts on board on Tuesday and immediately isolated them from the rest of the passengers. 

All nine people identified as close contacts to the preliminarily positive case have tested negative so far.

Mass quarantine order: All 2,500 passengers and 1,200 crew members were also ordered to undergo testing once back at port onboard the ship.

Royal Caribbean said it had taken all the precautions including requiring eligible passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated, to file a health declaration and to test negative within 48 hours of boarding. Children ineligible for the vaccine must also show a negative test and fill out a health declaration.

Hong Kong reported its first case of Omicron last week after going nearly three months without any local cases. 

Royal Caribbean’s “cruise to nowhere” trips, which sail around the South China Sea before returning to Hong Kong, have been popular in the city which enforces some of the strictest border control measures in the world.

This post has been updated with more details about the incident, including Covid testing.

4:22 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Germany reports sharp increase in coronavirus infection rates

From CNN's Stephanie Halasz and Chris Stern

dKarl Lauterbach (SPD), Federal Minister of Health, takes part in the video conference of the German government's expert council on the Corona pandemic in Berlin, Germany on 4 January 2022.
dKarl Lauterbach (SPD), Federal Minister of Health, takes part in the video conference of the German government's expert council on the Corona pandemic in Berlin, Germany on 4 January 2022. (Michael Kappeler/picture alliance/Getty Images)

Germany is reporting sharply increased coronavirus infections following the Christmas holidays.

The national agency for disease control and prevention, the Robert Koch Institute, reported a seven-day incidence rate of 258.6 infections per 100,000 inhabitants -- up from last Wednesday’s 205.5 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. 

The number of daily infections reported on Wednesday was 58,912. Last Wednesday, that number was 18,869. 

Another 346 people were killed by Covid in Germany. At least 112,925 people have died in the country after contracting the coronavirus.

The Robert Koch Institute warned that not all numbers may have been reported over the holidays.

The vaccination rate in Germany is increasing, albeit slower than authorities would like, as the country lags behind its European neighbors. As of Wednesday, 71.3% of Germany's eligible population had been fully vaccinated.

4:19 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Nearly a dozen neighborhoods locked down in Chinese city of Zhengzhou

From CNN's Beijing bureau

Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs from residents during a citywide nucleic acid testing following cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, January 5, 2022.
Medical workers in protective suits collect swabs from residents during a citywide nucleic acid testing following cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, January 5, 2022. (cnsphoto/Reuters)

Nearly a dozen neighborhoods in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou, in central Henan province, went into lockdown after a number of Covid-19 cases were reported. 

On Tuesday, Henan reported four symptomatic Covid cases and 22 asymptomatic cases, according to China's National Health Commission (NHC).

Residents in neighborhoods under lockdown are banned from leaving their homes except for mass testing. Schools in those areas have been suspended and residents are prohibited from leaving the city except for essential travel. 

The city, home to 12 million people, also began a round of mass testing on Wednesday. 

Mahjong rooms, funerals and family gatherings were found to be the source of three transmission chains, local authorities announced on Tuesday, according to the state-sanctioned tabloid the Global Times.

China on Tuesday reported 41 locally confirmed Covid-19 cases and 22 locally transmitted asymptomatic cases, according to the NHC.

4:16 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

India sees a sharp rise in Covid cases as another state imposes weekend curfew

From CNN's Esha Mitra in New Delhi

A health worker inoculates a student with a dose of the Covaxin vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a vaccination drive for youths of the 15-18 group age at a Government High School in Bangalore on January 4, 2022.
A health worker inoculates a student with a dose of the Covaxin vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus during a vaccination drive for youths of the 15-18 group age at a Government High School in Bangalore on January 4, 2022. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

India on Wednesday reported the highest single-day rise in coronavirus cases since June 20 last year, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Indian Health Ministry. 

The country reported 58,097 new infections — a 55% increase on the previous day, which saw 37,379 cases, the Health Ministry said.

On Tuesday, the southern state of Karnataka became the second to impose a weekend curfew where all activities except essential services will be shut on Saturday and Sunday. Earlier in the day, the national capital territory of Delhi was the first to impose such restrictions. 

“Data shows us that cases are doubling every 2 to 3 days in Karnataka!” K. Sudhakar, Karnataka’s health minister tweeted. Earlier, Delhi’s health minister told reporters the Omicron variant constituted the majority of new cases in the capital.

Political rallies: At least 15 of India’s 28 states and eight union territories have some restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. However, politicians have continued to hold large gatherings with thousands in attendance ahead of elections in five states in early 2022.

No national restrictions on political gatherings have been put in place so far.

On Monday, India began vaccinating children ages 15 to 18. As of Tuesday evening, a total of 8,145,038 vaccine doses had been administered to children, according to the Health Ministry. 

India has so far reported 35,018,358 Covid-19 cases and 482,551 deaths.

4:10 a.m. ET, January 5, 2022

Rio de Janeiro cancels Carnival street parades due to Covid-19 surge

From CNN's Karol Suarez

Revellers take part in the street carnival parade of the bloco Calcinhas Belicas at the XV Square in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 5, 2019, during the unofficial opening of the 2020 Carnival.
Revellers take part in the street carnival parade of the bloco Calcinhas Belicas at the XV Square in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on January 5, 2019, during the unofficial opening of the 2020 Carnival. (Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro has canceled its world-famous Carnival street parades due to a surge in Covid-19 cases, the city's mayor Eduardo Paes said Tuesday during a YouTube live stream. 

"We had a meeting today with the people from the "blocos" (organized street parties), and we informed them that the street carnival, which didn't take place in 2021, cannot happen this year due to the epidemiological data that we have," Paes said.

"It would be very difficult to organize a street carnival."

The Sapucaí carnival — the parade performed by Rio's samba schools and which people watch from the stands of the Marques de Sapucaí Sambadrome stadium — would still take place in accordance with health protocols, he added. 

On Tuesday, Brazil’s Health Ministry reported 18,759 new Covid cases and 175 deaths.